Progress: The Booster RocketPublished 11:00am Wednesday, March 9, 2011
NORTHWOOD, Iowa — Kory Olson spends most of his day in his office in Manly, Iowa, working as an agent for Worth Mutual Insurance.
When he’s not in his office, Olson is working on another important project close to his heart.
Olson is the president of the Northwood-Kensett Athletic Complex Committee. Its members are busy raising money in hopes of securing the funds to dramatically upgrade the athletic complex at Northwood-Kensett High School.
The current facilities at Northwood-Kensett High School, according to Olson, haven’t been upgraded in nearly 40 years.
Currently, the track at N-K High is a dirt track, which Olson says gives the athletes an unfair advantage when competing against other schools.
“I think the only track meet we have on a dirt track is our own,” Olson said. “Most of the meets are on all-weather tracks. We just kind of have an unfair advantage having to practice on a dirt track all the time.”
Along with the track, Olson said the bleachers and press box are in need of major upgrading along with the scoreboard at the football field.
“The bleachers and the press box are in need of major upgrading,” Olson said. “And the scoreboard, I’ve seen a picture of the backside of it and it works, but it’s just about falling down. It needs major upgrades.”
The new upgrades would take care of all of those problems. They would include a new track and upgrades to the bleachers, press box and scoreboard at the football field among other things.
“Well, its going to be an eight-lane Olympic all-weather track,” Olson said. “The football field is also going to take on some construction. It will have a new scoreboard, new bleachers, just kind of an update on the whole facility.”
The Athletic Complex idea started in July when the school board members contacted the booster club and told them they were interested in this project and to see if they could help raise money. The booster club agreed and then went to work on organizing a committee to help.
“We kind of picked out 10 to 12 people who we wanted to form a committee to spearhead the money involvement part of the project. The school has the say in the construction of the project, we’re just spearheading the fundraising part of it.”
While Olson originally was slated to be the vice president of the committee, the president they originally selected had conflicting issues and had to step down from the committee. Olson then volunteered to take the position as president.
“Kory stepped in as president when our former president stepped down,” committee member Troy Christensen said. “Kory is in town, he’s able to dedicate time to calling people and making contacts.”
N-K girls’ coach Ryan Severson says since taking over Olson has done a wonderful job.
“He was vice president at the start and then took over,” Severson said. “He’s doing a great job.”
The committee usually tries to meet every week and discuss what project they can do during the week to help raise money.
“For the most part we have been kind of meeting every week,” Olson said. “We will get over to one of the committee member’s houses and sit down and meet and discuss what our next project is going to be or our we going to a tailgate for this event.”
As president, Olson said he really just conducts the meetings and makes sure to bring up the important things they need to talk about.
“Just conducting the meetings is the really big part,” Olson said. “And trying to bring up the things that we need to talk about at each meeting.”
Several people on the committee and in the community give Olson praise for the work he’s done.
“He’s got a good rapport with people, and he’s a good person to be in charge and get things done,” N-K football coach and boys’ track coach Dave Capitani said.
Vice president Gary Hennigar said everything runs very smooth with Olson as president.
“Everybody loves Kory,” Hennigar said. “Having him as president makes everything run real smooth.”
Treasurer Kim Hengesteg said Olson’s background having grown up in Northwood, along with raising three kids who were involved with sports, is important and he’s done a great job.
“He originally comes from here,” Kim Hengesteg said. “He has raised three kids, all of whom have been involved in sports. He’s been a great president for organizing things and putting them together.”
While Olson holds the role as president, he says the whole committee plays a huge role and that everyone has done a great job.
“Our committee has been so good,” Olson said. “When we need something done it gets done. We do concession stands at the football games and a lot of our parents are football people. So we called in one of our arms and they were there you know and it always gets done.”
Currently, Olson and the N-K-AC committee have raised close to $315,000 with donations coming from the Northwood-Kensett school board, local businesses in the community, alumni of Northwood-Kensett along with raising money themselves in a different variety of ways.
Among the donations the committee received was from alumnus Paul Adams.
Adams donated $50,000 to the project and issued a challenge to alums and businesses that if anyone matched the donation, either alone or as a group, he would maybe consider giving more toward the project.
“The principal approached us and we had a tailgate just before the first football game,” Olson said. “He approached us then and said there was an anonymous donor out there that wanted to donate $50,000 and he’s been in contact with him through all this time. He wanted to remain anonymous. Just about three weeks ago he got a hold of the principal and said it’s time. If you want you can release my name and throw that challenge out there that if anybody matches this whether it is another alumnus or a business or a group of businesses or group of alumni or whatever. If anybody wanted to match it the challenge is out there that he would possibly give some more.”
With this project, Olson feels not only will it help the school, but it will also help the community as well.
“It just brings people into town,” Olson said of the track meets. “They’re not only spending money at the concession stand they’re all over. A track meet you know doesn’t just last an hour. When we go it usually starts at 4 and were leaving at 9:30. People are there for quite a while.”
Along with helping the community, Olson feels this project will help make the school viable over the long haul.
“It’s just kind of something everybody’s wanted to keep this school viable here,” Olson said. “If we just let it go, our chances of keeping this school as a viable school without merging with somebody are going to be gone.”
Olson also hopes that with the completion of the track, the school will be able to host to eight or nine track meets a year and hopes to hold the conference meet at the track and other events, too.
Olson says they will take donations right up to when they expect to start construction on the athletic complex which he hopes to start after the track season in May/June of 2012.
If you would like to donate to the Northwood-Kensett Athletic Complex project, you can visit the Northwood-Kensett school website and click on boosters to get a donation form or you can send a check made out to NK-AC to treasurer Kim Hengesteg at NSB Bank, ATTN: Kim Hengesteg, PO Box 288 Northwood, Iowa 50489. All donations are tax deductible.